India, Brazil agree on cyber-defence, strategic partnership action plan

Photo: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

New Delhi: India and Brazil today agreed to work jointly on cyber-defence and defence systems, among others, and on an action plan to strengthen their strategic partnership that could shape the way the United Nations’ Security Council (UNSC) could be reformed.

After a bilateral meeting between the visiting Federative Republic of Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the two sides adopted the action plan and a Joint Statement that were reflective of the future possibilities in strategically important relationship between the two nations in the defence, space and nuclear sectors.

Bolsonaro is also the chief guest at India’s 71st Republic Day parade to be held here tomorrow. The Brazilian President is in India accompanied by a high level delegation that includes the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Institutional Security Office and a business delegation.

In their joint statement, the two sides underscored their shared commitment to impart dynamism and strengthen the close and longstanding strategic relationship.

Both leaders reiterated that India-Brazil relations are based on common values, shared democratic ideals, and a commitment to foster economic growth of the two countries.

With the aim to enhance and revitalize ongoing engagements and foster new areas of cooperation, the leaders adopted the Action Plan to Strengthen the Strategic Partnership between Brazil and India.

The Action Plan is a comprehensive and forward looking document that outlines action in all spheres of cooperation, including (a) Political and Strategic Coordination; (b) Trade & Commerce, Investments, Agriculture, Civil Aviation and Energy; (c) Science, Technology and Innovation; Space Cooperation; Environment and Technical Cooperation; Health; (d) Defence and Security; (e) Culture and Education; and (f) Consular Issues, Social Security and Legal Cooperation.

Both leaders reiterated mutual support for their countries’ aspiration to permanent membership in an expanded UNSC. They reaffirmed their commitment to the reform of the United Nations (UN), particularly the Security Council (UNSC), through its expansion in the permanent and non-permanent categories, with increased representation of developing countries in both, in order to improve its representativeness, effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy, and for it to better meet the contemporary challenges faced by the international community. Both leaders underscored the priority that both governments attach to reforming the UN to make it more effective and attuned to present day realities.

India and Brazil will continue to work closely together in the framework of G-4 in order to realise their aspirations to serve as permanent members on a reformed and expanded UNSC so as to make the world body more democratic, representative and reflective of the changed world order. Modi thanked Bolsonaro for reiterating Brazil’s support to India’s membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Both leaders underscored their shared commitments to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and reaffirmed the right to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Broad Defence Cooperation

The two leaders reiterated the importance of broad-based bilateral defence cooperation in enhancing their strategic partnership. In this context, they encouraged structured dialogue and appreciated progress made at the meeting of the Joint Defence Committee, held in Brasilia in Feb. 2019. They noted that an event focussed on defence industries will take place on Jan. 27, 2020, in New Delhi.

Recognising the industrial expertise in the defence sector of both countries, they called upon an early convening of the first meeting of the Joint Working Commission (JWC) on Defence Industrial Cooperation and urged officials from both sides to work in the areas to be identified for cooperation by the JWC.

Both leaders recognised the important contribution of both countries to United Nations peacekeeping missions. They expressed satisfaction at the regular interactions between their armed forces through expert-level exchanges in training, operational and conceptual areas of mutual interest and resolved to strengthen it further.

They noted that the maritime exercise, IBSAMAR, has contributed to enhancing maritime security. They reiterated their desire to jointly collaborate in training as well as exchange of information on peace keeping operations of the United Nations.

They expressed their intention to further strengthen the coordination between the Brazilian Peace Operations Joint Training Centre and the Indian Centre for UN Peacekeeping. They also agreed to explore possible cooperation in the areas such as cyber-defence and defence systems, among others.

India welcomed the participation of a high-level delegation from Brazil and its defence industry in the DexExpo 2020, scheduled from Feb. 5 to 8, 2020, in Lucknow.

Unlocking Space Potential

Modi and Bolsonaro expressed the desire to strengthen cooperation in Space research in areas such as remote sensing, data sharing, small satellites and weather forecasting.

They also noted that space agencies of India and Brazil have had fruitful interactions in the recent past and are eager to advance cooperation in areas of mutual interest and to share expertise for mutual benefit through a Joint Working Group on Space Cooperation. Both leaders also highlighted the potential for bilateral commercial collaboration in the Space Sector.

Cyber Cooperation

Convinced of the need to enhance bilateral security cooperation in combating international terrorism, trans-national organized crimes and trafficking in illicit drugs and narcotics, the two leaders expressed confidence in early conclusion of the Agreement in Combating International Terrorism and Transnational Crimes.

The leaders reaffirmed that international terrorism constitutes one of the most serious threats to peace and security and emphasized the need for concerted and coordinated action by the international community, with the ultimate objective of eradicating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including cross border terrorism.

They reaffirmed their support for the implementation of measures to combat terrorism outlined in relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and stressed that international cooperation to combat terrorism should be conducted in conformity with the principles of the United Nations Charter, international law and relevant international conventions.

The Indian Prime Minister and the President of Brazil also reiterated the mutual interest to work closely in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in issues related to money laundering and financing of terrorism, and State-sponsored terrorism. They called for early adoption of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

They also called upon all countries to work towards rooting out terrorist safe heavens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and financing channels and halting cross border movement of terrorists. They underlined the need for all countries to ensure that their territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries.

They emphasised the need for stronger international partnership in countering terrorism and violent extremism, including through increased sharing of timely, actionable and complete information and intelligence. They called for enhanced bilateral cooperation in this regard and agreed to cooperate against specific terrorist threats identified by each country.

Mindful of the enormous potential of the information and communication technologies (ICTs) to the promotion of economic and social goals, Bolsonaro and Modi underscored the importance of an open, free, secure, stable, peaceful and accessible cyberspace, enabling economic growth and innovation.

In particular, they reaffirmed a multi-stakeholder approach to internet governance and their wish to deepen deliberations on the applicability of international law to cyberspace and set norms of responsible behaviour of States, in light of grave security challenges posed by a worrying increase in the malicious uses of ICTs.

While highlighting their wish to increase bilateral cooperation on ICT-related issues the two leaders welcomed the establishment of a UN Open-Ended Working Group and a new edition of a Group of Governmental Experts, pursuant respectively to the Resolutions A/RES/73/27 and A/RES/73/266, as important consultative mechanisms for the promotion of responsible State behaviour in the cyberspace through agreed principles, norms and rules. They also welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the area of Cyber Security.

Action Plan Adopted

Under the Action Plan adopted at their meeting, there was consensus these areas:

  • Political and Strategic Coordination

Mechanisms: Foreign Office Consultations; and Strategic Dialogue.

Goals: To promote frequent exchanges between the Foreign Affairs Ministries of the two countries; To identify priority areas for bilateral cooperation and promote dialogue in these sectors; and To promote timely and in-depth exchange of views on foreign policy and bilateral coordination on international issues of mutual interest.

  • Defence and Security

Mechanisms: Joint Defence Committee; and Joint Committee on Cyber Security.

Goals: To intensify meetings of Armed Forces officials from both countries to explore new possibilities for cooperation and exchange; To encourage greater collaboration between the respective defence industrial bases, including through the consolidation of the Joint Working Group on Defence Industrial Cooperation established within the Joint Defence Committee; To implement the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the area of Cyber Security; and To work together with a view to conclude an agreement regarding cooperation in combating international terrorism and transnational organized crime.

  • Space Cooperation

To identify opportunities for a greater cooperation in space, in particular in the development of satellites and launchers, including the formation of a Joint Working Group on Space to discuss matters related to Space Cooperation.

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